Wide Open

Nicola Barker

Winner of IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2000, Wide Open is the first of Nicola Barker’s Thames Gateway novels.

Poking out of the River Thames estuary, the strange Isle of Sheppey is home to a nudist beach, a nature reserve, a wild boar farm and not much else. The landscape is bleak, but the people are interesting. There’s Luke, who specialises in join-the-dots pornography and lippy, outraged Lily. They are joined by Jim, the 8-year-old Nathan and the mysterious, dark-eyed Ronnie.

Each one floats adrift in turbulent currents, fighting the rip tide of a past that swims with secrets. Only if they see through the lies and prejudice will they gain redemption. Wide Open is about coming to terms with the past, and the fantasies people construct in order to protect their fragile inner selves.

Reviews of Wide Open

    • ‘Wide Open is word perfect, witty and ironic…The author’s focus on marginal lives and on the importance of the dispossessed and the apparently mad persuade us finally that Wide Open possesses a manic energy and taut eloquence worthy of a large, serious and global readership.’ Impac Prize judging panel
    • ‘Razor-sharp comic sensibility and flawless structure’ Suzi Feay, Independent on Sunday
    • ‘It combines Nicola Barker’s trademark qualities of offbeat comedy and quirky characterisation with an emotional darkness and depth that marked it, for many critics, as her breakthrough …The novel mixes an eccentric island backdrop – a Barker speciality – with a cast of intriguing oddballs, pin-sharp comic dialogue, and a sinister undercurrent of violence and abuse’ Independent